Portland Broadway Review: The King and I

‘What a puzzlement!’ – The King of Siam

Rodger & Hammerstein’s The King and I Broadway performance will only be in Portland until January 13th.  I am pleased to provide the following review in partnership with Broadway Portland; all opinions are my own.

I was particularly interested in seeing this play as I had watched the film as a child and I was curious to see how much of the actual story line I remembered.  The answer is…not much.  Based upon the novel Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon the summary story line is about a widow (Anna Leonowens) from England traveling to Thailand to accept a job as a live-in teacher and governess to the King of Siam’s many wives and children.

That is right!  I said ‘many wives’. Set in an 1860’s Bangkok, the musical tells the story of the relationship between Anna and The King as she tries to navigate the controversial belief systems within the palace and works stubbornly and diligently to progress The King’s thought patterns.  They have a tempestuous relationship and eventually while the King is on his deathbed, the palace starts to accept a more modern point of view.  Spoiler alert; this play wasn’t the most politically correct as it is based on a classic film taking place in the 19th century about two clashing cultures, polygamy and slavery.

What I really appreciated about the musical were its international costumes, cast and set design.  Having traveled to Thailand recently, I enjoyed seeing the depiction of 19th century Thai culture and dance.  I found this more intriguing than the previous plays I have seen with Portland Broadway.  I particularly enjoyed the cultural dance scenes.  My favorite scene was Act II Scene 3 “The Small House of Uncle Thomas”.  It was a ballet performance and was remarkable.  I would honestly go see the entire play again just to witness this beautifully created scene as we all cheered for Eliza’s escape from King Simon. 

Secondly, I have to mention the stunning performance by the female lead protagonist kept my attention the entire production.  Anna played by Angela Baumgardner was perfection wrapped up in a pretty little corset and hoop skirt package. Watching her gracefully waltz around singing beloved classics like “Getting to Know You” and “Hello Young Lovers” had me wanting more at the end of the night. 

Lastly, the children were a huge success to this musical and you could feel the crowd perk up every time they came on set.  They contributed to the wild and emotional energy of the musical and I was very impressed with their theatrical skills.

I highly recommend this Broadway musical, as it has been my favorite thus far and has some incredibly dynamic content going back to an imperialistic time and facing some societal challenges that we are all still facing today in modern culture.

Remaining Performance Schedule and Ticket Information:

Thursday, January 10 – 7:30pm – ASL Interpreted Performance
Friday, January 11 – 7:30pm – Audio Described Performance

Saturday, January 12 – 2:00pm and 7:30pm
Sunday, January 13 – 1:00pm

6:30pm – Open Caption Performance

Wheelchair seating is available at all performances. For information on ADA seating, please call the Broadway in Portland Box Office 503-417-0573, email broadway@portlandopera.org or visit the Broadway in Portland Box Office in person (Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 5:00pm)

Tickets can be purchased: www.BroadwayInPortland.com or at Portland’5 Box Office: 800-273-1530

The King and I Social Accounts:

For more information, including the 2019 touring schedule, please visit TheKingandITour.com





  1. Sue Terry
    January 15, 2019 / 7:44 pm

    Great review and I whole heartedly agree. The acting and singing was phenomenal.
    So grateful we have these wonderful plays coming to Portland.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *